THE Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) on Thursday, said it has paid N1,103,987,124.44 to 559 members of Nigerian Police Force that took sides with the State of Biafra during the Nigeria Civil War under aegis of Retired War Affected Police Officers their gratuities and pension arrears.
The Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, made this known in Enugu during a stakeholders’ forum with the Association of Retired Police Officers (ARWAPO).
Given a breakdown of the payment, Ejikeme said that 414 ARWAPO Pensioners were paid N954,077,715.29, while N149,907,409.15 death benefits were paid to 145 Next of kin of deceased pensioners.
She stated that the stakeholders engagement was part of it efforts to bring pension administration to the doorstep of its pensioners.
“This enables us update our stakeholders on past and on-going activities of the directorate. It gives us the opportunity to interact one on one with our pensioners and officials of the pension Unions in a bid to serve them better.”
The Executive Secretary, however noted, “PTAD is currently reviewing and computing all pending ARWAPO Pensioners’ complaints with a view to payrolling them for monthly pension, payment of arrears and payment of benefits to the Next of Kin of deceased AWARPO pensioners.”
She however, stated that despite challenges in recent times, occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, PTAD has been making progress in addressing pensioners issues and restoring hope, dignity and decent living to defined benefit scheme pensioners.
On his part, the Chairman Senate committee on Establishment and Public Service, Mallam Ibrahim Shakarau, said the Senate was working to put in place necessary judicial framework to ensure that all challenges associated with pension fund administration are tackled.
“The first the business of the legislature is to make laws and make easy the process of pension services in Nigeria. This was done when the contributory pension law was made in 2004. It was reviewed in 2014 and right now we are working on another review.
“We have identified a couple of issues that needs to be revisited and reexamined. So my committee and my counterparts in the House of Assembly are reviewing those aspects of law that are probably overtaken by events or as a result of operations and execution of the law we’ve found some loopholes”.
“We are collaborating with all the the relevant agencies including PTAD, PenCom and the union as well. We are in dialogue with the office of the Minister of Finance, the office of the Secretary General of the Federation and all concerned to see what are the outstanding issues and how to solve them.”
In his remark, President, Association of Retired War-Affected Police Officers, Chief Matthew Udeh, the problem some of his members are facing started when the Police Pension Department paid them their benefits as though they retired in 1970 rather than 2000 when they were retired after being granted amnesty.
“This has been corrected through the effort of PTAD due to the presentation we made. It is now being computed in line with the date of the amnesty. But the difficulty we are facing is that we are being asked to produce certain documents which are difficult to produce.
“We have made presentation on how it should be tackled. While some have been paid their arrears, others have not been paid. Those who have been paid should be placed monthly pension. We also pointed out that those officers who died before the amnesty should not be left out in the pension. We have made these recommendations and they are considering them”.